Interesting blog for parents

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parent hacks is a blog created by some technical writers/recent parents, devoted to parenting, O’Reilly geek-style.

As a parent of nobody, this has little value to me, but somehow this blog “works” because it has a nice focused vertical as well as a clever graphic, two features a personal blog like this doesn’t have.

The past of blogging

After my first PHP Conference, I met a fun guy by the name of Scott Johnson, who had written a search engine called Feedster. In 2003, I suggested that he turn myFeedster into a more AJAX-like web-based newsreading client, but that idea didn’t stick—of course, there was no commonly accepted term for Remote Scripting back then, so it was hard to communicate the idea. What did stick was the idea of just tacking read information onto OPML in order for thick clients to exchange read records with Feedster). It was because of Scott’s enthusiasm1 about blogging, that I decided to looked into it and I was impressed.

Blogging works because it has two extensions. The first extension is RSS which allows agent to gather information passively instead of forcing humans to actively visit the websites to check for new content. The second extension is the use of XMLRPC in order to publish content, which allows content to be composed with offline tools.

But the main reason blogging works is because it limits the traditional CMS. Traditional CMS’s are full of worthless metadata, a blog reduces the metadata down to one essential thing: the date.2 Successful ideas always simplify.

The real future of blogging

Dru mentioned today about finding a well-designed website selling high end snowboarding boots. The thing he noticed was that the website was built using the free WordPress blogging as the engine that runs it. I pointed out that I noticed the rising popularity of WordPress as a generic web content management system when I composed this article and stumbled across this website on Automator scripts, also written using WordPress (I mentioned as much in my comments in that article).

Sites like Parenthack, ThirtyTwo, and Automator World show that blogs have become the new CMS, only without the bullshit.

1 Right now, Scott is working on a new project called Ookles. Not sure what it is about yet.
2 It is instructive to note that the other essential simplification at the time was the wiki. The Wiki takes a CMS and reduces the metadata down to the title instead of the date. It focuses on web-based collaboration instead of publication-subscribe and has, as it’s essential features: automatic cross-referencing and version control. I always wondered why these two ideas were never merged—there is nothing in blogging that precludes adding wiki-like features, or vice-versa. I guess the market is too small for that.

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